Sunday, January 31, 2010

Favorite Sites

As I continue to make changes to the chaos that is my blog, I find more and more things that I just can't help but reorganize.

I removed all of my links to other blogs. I put them in my favorites instead. My list of links will now simply be websites that I frequent or find useful. Blogs that I find amusing will be periodically highlighted with blog posts, but I don't need yet another list of links when my bookmarks/favorites and my RSS feeds all work just fine.

If you had a link in my sidebar, rest easy; I'll still visit.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week In Review

This week was a little more relaxed, with one exception: I had a final exam in my economics class. I think I aced it.

My wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. I guess this means that we're serious about each other, right?

We ate at a place called Sauce Live (website here). The food was
wonderful. The theme is southern soul, and the menu is dominated by barbecue and traditional southern sides. We both had the ribs and chicken dinner, which came with fried potatoes, an amazing coleslaw, and a soft drink. Since this was our first visit, the owner brought us a complimentary order of hot wings to start us off. They were not like most "buffalo" wings, as Sauce Live has their very own hot sauce. Those wings were great, and I wish the place was closer to our house!

On Saturday, I took my wife and daughter to a local Okinawan optometrist to get new glasses. Going out in town is much less expensive than trying to buy glasses at the place on base (gotta love AAFES). The Okinawan couple that run the shop we went to are really nice, and their English is excellent.

A pretty slow week, but Friday's dinner with my wife was nice. How was your week?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: Windows 7 Inside Out

I've been diving into this book, and it has turned out to be a treasure trove of information. Want to know how to set up custom file sharing settings? How about all of those crazy questions about wireless printing? This book will answer those questions, and even give you details about the tech stuff inside of Windows 7.

Windows 7 is turning out to be a winner. It works well, doesn't give me a ton of popup messages, and does what it's supposed to do. I still have questions about it, and want to know more about tweaking and tuning it, and Windows 7 Inside Out answers those questions.

The authors, Bott, Siechert, and Stinson, are experts in their field, and were privy to insider information during the development of the operating system, or OS. They know what they're talking about. They also had almost unlimited access to Microsoft for tech research, and they ironed out the details. The accuracy of the text is uncanny. If the book says to "click here for X," you can count on clicking there for "X."

The thickness of the book is daunting, but don't let that fool you. The book is well laid out, and the table of contents makes sense. I have no trouble finding the information that I want.

I particularly like chapter 8, "Organizing Files and Information." This is a must-read for anyone using, or thinking about using, Windows 7. Chapter eight goes over the layout of Windows Explorer, and the features that you can now have mucho control over (in a much more intuitive way than in the past). The authors even cover what to be careful about, and where to use caution. They go into greater detail in later chapters.

The chapter on security is something that I wish previous versions of Windows came with! If you set up a home network, you should read this chapter before you go "live." This book will also walk you through the actual setup of your home network. Want to plug your computer into your modem, your router, or go wireless? "Inside and Out" will walk you through it.

Throughout the text, there are little "windows" of text that are labeled as "Inside Out," like the title of the book. These are snippets of insight into the actual workings of the OS. They explain what Windows is really doing when you click on something, or choose a certain menu option. These little gems make the text more palatable, and add a touch of realism.

The book covers so much, that it would be unreasonable to expect a full account here. There is ten tons of info there, and it even includes a fully searchable electronic version on CD, with a few extras.

In a nutshell, this text will help anyone that is wanting to learn the ins and outs of Windows 7. The table of contents will guide you toward your target, and the information is spot on. This book is a keeper.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sleep Talkin' Man

This one is funny. An enterprising lady decided to record the wacky things that her husband says in his sleep, and then blog about it.

See it here: Sleep Talkin' Man
(Language warning, some of it is not suitable for the youngin's).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week In Review

The past week seems to have been a busy one, with work being what it is, and school getting close to crunch time. I have a new batch of students at work, and they are a lively bunch.

I got some great news from back home this week. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say that I'm greatly relieved, and I'm sure the rest of my family is too.

A new combined enlisted and Staff Non-commissioned Officer club opened on Camp Foster here recently. My wife and I tried it out for lunch today, and they were serving what appeared to be their Sunday brunch buffet (it's Saturday here). The food was plentiful and pretty fresh. I was somewhat impressed, since most buffet food is barely warm and of questionable freshness. Since it was not Sunday, the price was much better than expected. They sure built a beautiful club, and I hope it gets plenty of use.

My dog knows what the word "cookie" means, and she can even recognize that word when we spell it. I think we've created a cookie monster, but she's not blue.

Windows 7 seems to be working out great for me. My computer seems faster with this OS, I get far fewer popup warning messages, and I'm having fun discovering all of the features that are packed into this version. I get a kick out of the people who tell me that, "Linux can do that!" Super. Enjoy yourself.

I was reminded of the phrase, "Excuses are like a$$holes; everyone has one, and they all stink." I stopped a young Marine in the PX today who was wearing sweat pants. PT gear, or what most folks would call athletic wear, is not authorized for wear on leave or liberty, except when conducting PT, sports, working out at the gym, etc. It's never been authorized for wear in the PX. When I asked the young man if he thought his attire would be considered PT gear, he responded with, "I just got here." I'm not real sure what that has to do with anything, but I guess he thought it was pertinent to the topic. I know I've offered up my own share of excuses in the past, and maybe I just notice it more now.

A buddy at work finally tried making bacon wrapped little smokies, and he quickly realized just what I was talking about after Thanksgiving. I have known for a while now that bacon is one of the greatest foods on the planet, but these little babies sealed the deal for me when my wife made them a few weeks back. They really do taste far better than you think they would. I wouldn't advise anyone to make these if they have an addictive personality. If we made these on a regular basis, I think my waist line would have its own zip code.

Some of you already know about my addiction to gadgets. I have a watch that has a built-in GPS receiver. I've had this little gem for about five months now. It's a Garmin Forerunner 205, and it gives me more information than I thought possible. It even hooks up to my computer, and the included software helps me manage my runs, monitor my performance, and set up future routes. It tells me distance, pace, elapsed time, elevation changes, and all kinds of other stuff. I can set the display up to show me whatever information I want it to, and keep track of my pace while on the go. With a half marathon in my future, this sucker is pretty useful. It also comes in handy when I lead my students on a PT run at work. I can set a steady pace, and work toward increasing that pace as the course progresses. The 205 is a bit on the bulky side, but the usefulness makes it worth it. I don't wear it as an every day time piece, but I've put a bunch of miles on it so far while running. I would recommend this product to others. There are newer versions out there that do other stuff (heart rate monitors, blue tooth updates to your computer, etc), but they cost a lot more money.

That's my week in a nutshell; how was yours?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yellow Box Okinawa--They Just Don't Give a Damn

My wife and I visited the Yellow Box Furniture store today. Yellow Box is a well known fixture here on Okinawa. Unfortunately, they seem to have let their success go to their head.

We stopped by the small shop that they have at our local military exchange. I don't know how that deal was worked out, but Yellow Box can sell furniture at our PX. Anyway, we have been on the lookout for a television stand. Not necessarily a stand really, nor an entertainment center, but a small, simple cabinet. We saw the perfect item at the Yellow Box, and decided to get it.

When we went in to talk to the young lady behind the counter, we asked if we could purchase that very item that was on display. She said that if she had them "in stock," she could not sell us the display model. Fair enough. She got on the phone and spoke to an unknown person, and informed us that they were indeed "in stock." Ok, so where are these "in stock" items?

"Well, they said they can have it there at our main store in two days, or deliver it, which I can set up a date for," she said.

How does that equate to being "in stock?" Sounds to me like the item is "in stock" in some far away place, not here at the store I'm standing in.

Because of that policy, Yellow Box lost a sale. Unfortunately, they don't seem to give a damn about such things, as evidenced by the salesperson's nonchalant attitude. They make plenty of money, due to the fact that they'll extend credit to any service member with a pulse. Is their success the reason that they don't care? Probably. A few young married couples with little or no disposable income are probably lining up to finance a new bedroom set as I type this.

I suppose that this lack of customer service is pretty much the norm everywhere these days.

Update: Since this post continues to gather an astonishing amount of attention, and an equally astonishing amount of irrational comments, I wanted to point out a few obvious (yet overlooked) points:
-This is a personal blog, documenting my experience at yellowdump.  I don't claim to speak for every customer that ever went there.
-There were no unreasonable expectations on my part; I left after they claimed that their item was "in stock," but wasn't.
-Just because you had a great experience at yellowdump doesn't mean that it's impossible for others to have a bad experience; that's just dumb.
-I have no financial stake in taking business away from yellowdump; again, this is just a personal blog.  
-No, there's no reason to suspect that any of the deleted comments were from yellowdump employees/owners, so please stop emailing me and asking (although some are pretty suspicious). 
-For those of you that can't manage to read the entire post, and simply get butthurt by the title, please use the hurt feelings report to document your butthurt.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Look, Same Great Taste

Well, I did it. I filed my old template in the "round file," and started from scratch. Unfortunately, all of my old comments were deleted, as were my links.

I'll have to manually add all of my links back in my sidebar, so please be patient if I had a link to your site or blog. As for comments, it's not a tragedy.

Thankfully, third party comment software is now gone. Blogger will have to suffice until something that works comes along.

If you're interested in a snappy new template, try Theme Craft. They have some really neat ones.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Intense Debate is a Football Bat

Have you ever heard the expression, "You're about as f^c&ed up as a football bat!"? That's about how the comment system on this blog is working out.

Since Haloscan decided to screw its loyal users, and this "Intense Debate" system doesn't work for crap, I have no comment system that I can count on. The XML code on my blog is so screwed up, I don't think it can be repaired. I'm about to scrap it all, and start over with a new template, sans third party comment systems.

I know what you're thinking: "Why didn't you back up your template before you installed (whatever)?" I did. My template, however, has migrated from the old Blogger, to the new Blogger. During the migration, I already had the Haloscan system on there (like a freakin' virus). That's the problem. I have no "clean" version of my template that will work with the new Blogger.

My apologies to the readers that do leave an occasional comment. I wish this new comment system had worked. I don't recommend "Intense Debate" to anyone, in any capacity. It seems amateurish, at best, and completely FUBAR at present. Their own developers, or whatever they are, couldn't even make it work right (after I emailed them a copy of my template code). That just sends me the wrong message.

In the mean time, here's a picture of a monkey riding a dog!